Saturday, October 10, 2009

I had a lovely break from the angst of uni assignments today. I had a lunch date with some girls that I went to high school with (we finished 20 years ago!), their husbands, and children. We had lunch in a nice, upmarket hotel not far from where we grew up. It has been updated quite a bit since our high school days of underage drinking! Now it has a lovely family-friendly bistro with an indoor play area for kids.

It's always great to catch up with the girls, we make sure that we "do lunch" about four times a year. But it had been ages since we'd caught up with all the kids. Of course everyone sees their own kids every day, and doesn't always realise just how much they've grown since the others saw them last. But with cries of "look how big they are!", we all admired each other's children!

Josh was thrilled not to be overrun with girls for once (he has lots of girl cousins!), at five boys to three girls the boys were in the majority. We hardly saw him all afternoon - the play area and the other boys kept him occupied. It was a little bit harder for Alana, at eleven she was the oldest child, and officially too old for the play area (designated for children up to 10). She did go in a few times with the younger girls, but couldn't quite stand up inside it and had to stoop a little! Poor thing!

Now I'm back home and back to work. I feel like the last couple of readings that I'm plowing through are finally getting to the heart of the matter. ETL504 is called "Teacher Librarian as Leader", and I finally feel like I'm understanding what this subject is getting at. Better late than never. I just hope that I can translate what I'm learning into assignment gold!

Lambert, L. (1998). What is Leadership Capacity? In Building Leadership Capacity in Schools (pp. 1-9). Alexandra: ASCD.

This article adds to the ideas explored in the last one by Hargreaves & Fink. It too, is concerned with how to maintain the momentum of change and improvement in schools beyond the tenure of any particular leader. It too explores the idea of leadership being shared among the school community rather than residing in one person.

Lambert explores the idea that a school must create its own internal responsibility for direction in order to maintain momentum and stay afloat. A significant number of teachers (presumably ideally all of them) should understand and be committed to the shared vision and central work of the school. This understanding will involve more than just knowledge about the innovation or program, but also leadership skills including the ability to capture the imagination of colleagues, negotiate changes and tackle conflicts.

This broadens the traditional concept of leadership into a shared endeavour of a community as they work towards a shared purpose. It is about learning together and creating shared meaning, generating ideas together, reflecting and having conversations. These conversations will lead to plans, strategies, responsibilities and continuous feedback and improvement.

Lambert suggests that it is important to use action research to generate information about how well students are learning. Then it is important to compare beliefs and expectations with the results of the research. This comparison is where a dialogue begins to work out strategies for the implementation of innovations. And once implementation is underway, the talking shouldn't stop. Teachers should continually tie what they are doing in the classroom to the shared purpose of the school.

These conversations can only take place in an environment of trusting relationships.

Now what, you may ask, does the picture at the top of this post have to do with the content?

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